By Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST):

10:05 p.m.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says “we have a huge challenge here” after meeting with other top transition officials and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The meeting lasted more than two hours in Ryan’s office in the Capitol and focused on Republicans’ goal of rewriting the nation’s complex tax code.

After the meeting broke up Monday night and participants left the Capitol, Priebus was overheard remarking to a companion: “I need to make sure that we are all on the same page. We have a huge challenge here. It was better tonight.”

Other participants in the meeting included Trump’s son-in-law and newly named adviser, Jared Kushner; top adviser Stephen Bannon; and Trump’s pick for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.


5:45 p.m.

Hollywood is turning out for the women’s march on Washington.

Organizers on Monday released a list of celebrities who will participate in the Jan. 21 march, planned for the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Actress America Ferrera will participate and chair the march’s “artist table.” Other notables who plan to participate include Amy Schumer, Scarlett Johansson and Frances McDormand.

Ferrera said that since Trump’s election, many people “fear that their voices will go unheard.” She said march participants will push for rights and justice.

Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to turn out for the march.

Chelsea Handler will lead a sister march in Park City, Utah, one of more than 150 solidarity marches planned around the country and the world that day.


3:10 p.m.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence has arrived at Joint Base Andrews with members of his family - and three pets.

Pence took his first flight aboard a military flight - which will be Air Force Two once he becomes vice president. As they got off the plane, Pence’s wife, Karen, and adult daughter, Charlotte, were carrying the family’s cats, Pickle and Oreo. The Pence’s rabbit, Marlon Bundo, also arrived in a cage and was loaded into an SUV.

Pence attended the swearing-in of his successor, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.


1:30 p.m.

Federal ethics officials have cleared President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed through the confirmation process.

The Office of Government Ethics on Monday released the personal financial disclosure report for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The ethics office affirmed that Pruitt’s disclosures are in compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations.

Pruitt’s finances are among the least complicated of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, which include several billionaires. In just four pages, Pruitt disclosed an investment portfolio valued between $420,000 and $1 million, held primarily in mutual funds, bonds and a state retirement plan.

Senate Democrats and environmental groups have focused criticism on Pruitt’s political ties to the oil and gas industry.

No date has yet been set for his confirmation hearing.


1:20 p.m.

Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to be named senior adviser to the president.

Kushner, who has been one of Trump’s top counselors, will continue in that role in White House, according to two people Monday who were briefed on the decision but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, must clear a series of hurdles before he takes any post in Washington.

He will need to argue that a federal anti-nepotism law that bar officials from appointing relatives to government positions does not apply to him. He’ll also need to eliminate potential conflicts of interest between his family’s multi-billion dollar real estate empire and his government duties.

The announcement of Kushner’s post is expected later this week.


12:50 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is again insisting that it will be “simple” to disentangle himself from his extensive international business interests.

Trump tells reporters during a brief appearance in his Trump Tower lobby that he plans to address the topic at a press conference planned for Wednesday.

“All I can say is it’s very simple, very easy,” he insists.

Trump has pledged to step away from his family-owned international real estate business before taking office Jan. 20.

But he continues to own or control some 500 companies that make up the Trump Organization.

The president-elect says he’ll also discuss his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s planned role in his administration at the event Wednesday.

Trump spoke to reporters after meeting with French businessman Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, a luxury goods company.


12:40 p.m.

Donald Trump says he’s planning to work with the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba to help boost small businesses.

The president-elect met Monday with Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group. The company claims it can create 1 million U.S. jobs by helping small businesses sell their products to China and Asian consumers.

Trump tells reporters during a brief appearance in the Trump Tower lobby the pair had “a great meeting” and called Ma a “great, great entrepreneur.”

He says, “Jack and I are going to do some great things.” Trump often railed against Chinese trade practice during his campaign.

Ma says the pair discussed strengthening the countries’ relationship. He says Trump “has the concerns and he has the solutions and he wants to discuss with China and us that how we can do better.”


12:15 p.m.

President-elect Donald Trump predicts all of his Cabinet picks will win Senate confirmation.

Trump made the prediction Monday as he briefly addressed reporters in Trump Tower in New York City. He appeared alongside Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

Trump said, “I think they’ll all pass.” He said his nominees are “all at the highest level.”

Senate confirmation hearings begin on Tuesday. Trump’s pick for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, is first up.

Trump described Sessions Monday as “a high-quality man.” He said, “He’s going to do great.”

Trump declined to answer questions about last week’s intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 election.


11:55 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s hopeful that a half-dozen of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks will be in place by “day one.”

McConnell met with the president-elect for about an hour in New York on Monday.

He tells reporters the two “had a good meeting about the senate agenda,” which included discussion of Cabinet confirmations and repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Democrats have complained the hearing schedule is too rushed. Some candidates haven’t yet submitted ethics disclosure reports.

But McConnell insists that “everybody’ll be properly vetted as they have been in the past.” He adds that he’s “hopeful that we’ll get up to six or seven - particularly the national security team - in place on day one.”


10:40 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is meeting with President-elect Donald Trump a day before the Senate begins confirmation hearings on Trump’s Cabinet picks.

Democrats have taken issue with the hearing schedule’s quick pace.

The government ethics office says it hasn’t received even draft financial disclosure reports for some of the nominees set to appear before Congress this week. Many are wealthy businessmen who have never held public office.

McConnell had demanded that Cabinet contenders complete such paperwork before their hearings back in 2009.


10:30 a.m.

The Kremlin says a declassified report by U.S. intelligence agencies that accuses President Vladimir Putin of meddling in last year’s presidential election is baseless and “beginning to remind us of a full-fledged witch hunt.”

President-elect Donald Trump also has referred to allegations of Russian hacking by the Obama administration as a “witch hunt.”

Last week’s report alleges that Putin ordered a hidden campaign to influence voters in favor of Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. The report says Russia hacked into Democrats’ accounts and used state-funded propaganda and paid “trolls” to make nasty comments on social media services.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that the accusations have “no substance” and that Russian officials were not involved. He added: “We are tired of such accusations. This is beginning to remind us of a full-fledged witch hunt.”


7:38 a.m.

A top aide to Donald Trump says actress Meryl Streep should have supported the president-elect instead of denouncing him from the stage of the Golden Globes.

Kellyanne Conway told “Fox and Friends” Monday that she’s “concerned that somebody with a platform like Meryl Streep’s is inciting people’s worst instincts.”

Streep did not mention Trump by name. But she criticized the president-elect’s “performance” as a presidential candidate, especially his apparent mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter during the campaign. Trump has denied that. He fired back on Twitter that Streep, who backed Democrat Hillary Clinton, is an “over-rated” actress.

Conway said of Streep: “I really wish she would have stood up last night and said, ‘I didn’t like the election results but he is our president and we’re going to support him.’”


7:35 a.m.

Donald Trump and his Cabinet picks are preparing to face public questioning over their business conflicts, their approach to Russia and other issues during a critical week of confirmation hearings and the president-elect’s first news conference in nearly six months.

Trump is less than two weeks away from taking office, but has yet to lay out how he intends to disengage himself from his global business interests. Despite the pressure, Trump also plunged Monday in to another fight with a high-profile critic, this time in a three-part tweet responding to actress Meryl Streep’s denunciation of him from the stage of the Golden Globe awards.

Trump called the Academy Award winner who had supported Democrat Hillary Clinton “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and “a Hillary flunky who lost big.”

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